The Okanagan smoke is starting to drift into the valley so hiking may have to wait for a few weeks until the fires close by stop burning, but if we do get a clear (or at least less smoky) morning Hiking Scenic Canyon is a great way to start the day.
The Scenic Canyon hiking trail is part of the Kelowna Mission Creek Greenway. Currently (summer 2019) there is some trail and bridge work being done along Mission Creek the trail really only goes one direction along the creek but hopefully soon the work will be complete and more trail will open making this a great spot to spend several hours.
What I love about this walk is that the trail head is above the river, meaning you start with a downhill (just try not to think about the uphill at the end!). After about 20 minutes of meandering downhill you hit the creekside area, there are lots of spots along the creek to stop and put your feet in the water to cool down as well as some picnic tables and hitching posts in a small meadow type area.
At the end of the currently open trail the canyon narrows and the cliff side is full of large round holes, possibly left from when the river was much higher and the rocks eroded river bank? Whatever caused it they are a very cool geologic feature.
We found a spot on the river that someone had turned into a small swimming hole, it was the perfect size for our dog to cool off in and I can see that it would be very popular with hikers during hot afternoons.
One thing to note – there are no longer garbage cans along the trail, I’m quite certain that other years when I have done the hike that there were a few bins for hikers to deposit their garbage in but for some reason the only bin is at the trail head parking lot. If you go be prepared to pack out all your garbage (including any deposit your dog leaves!).
On the hike back up to the parking lot be sure to take lots of breaks to take in the views of the amazing Layer Cake Moutain. This mountain looks like, well, a layer cake. It’s a unique and distinct Kelowna Geological marvel. Conviently there a number of park benches at great view points giving you a great reason to stop and take a break!
Additional information on this hike can be found on the Regional District Website. To get to the trail head: Take McCulloch Road to Field Road. The parking lot entrance is just before the Gallaghers Golf Course subdivision entrance.